In 14th-century England, Princess Isabella was the favorite daughter of King Edward III. In the 21st century, Elle Fanning, who stars as Princess Aurora in Disney’s new Cinderella retelling, Maleficent, is Hollywood’s new golden child. Now it turns out that Fanning is of actual princess ancestry: She’s a descendant of King Edward III and a relative, across 700 years, of Princess Isabella — and that’s not her only princess connection!
Historians from Ancestry have discovered that the 16-year-old actress is the 22nd great-granddaughter of King Edward III, who ruled England from 1330 to 1376. That royal genealogy flows through Elle’s mother, Heather Joy Arrington, and includes, of course, Elle’s older sister, Dakota Fanning, a talented young actress in her own right.
Elle and Dakota’s royal connections don’t end there. After poring over centuries of census records, birth and death certificates, baptism and burial records, Ancestry has determined that the actresses are the 21st cousins of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Middleton’s mother, Carole Goldsmith, is also a distant granddaughter of King Edward III.
The Fannings, however, don’t need to go back to the Plantagenet dynasty for illustrious forebears. They’re also football royalty right here in the U.S.: Their grandfather Rick Arrington played quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1970 to 1973.
Centuries before that, however, King Edward III took the crown at age 14, when his mother deposed his father. Maybe Elle, who’s been acting since she was 2, is hoping for a Hollywood reign just as long.